Montgomery County - The technology company that currently manages speed cameras in the District will soon do the same for its Maryland neighbor, Montgomery County. The Montgomery County Police Department has just signed a contract with ACS State and Local Solutions Inc. to provide a comprehensive speed enforcement program for the county that will be the first of its kind in the state.

Locations for the cameras are still being decided upon as are the number of cameras. But what’s known is that the added enforcement will be concentrated in county wide residential areas and school zones with a speed limit of 35 mph or less. The municipalities of Rockville, Gaithersburg and Chevy Chase are simultaneously working on programs for their territories. Police Chief Thomas Manger said in a written statement that the new equipment really puts a premium on safety.

“Automated speed enforcement will help our county enforce the traffic laws and combat and correct the aggressive driving behavior of those who choose to speed,” he added. “Our goal is to save lives and speed cameras will give us another resource that will complement our existing enforcement measures.”

According to police figures, speeding-related crashes account for 35 percent of all 2005 Maryland traffic deaths, equating to a cost of more than $732 million. In that year alone, 16 speeding-related fatalities were reported in Montgomery County.

Up until this point, the county’s officers have relied on standard patrols. The speed cameras, though, have the capacity to detect, photograph and ticket speeders at all hours, and the money collected from accompanying tickets goes back to public safety.

Still, with all the positives noted by supporters, the cameras have been a hard sell. For years former County Executive Doug Duncan advocated for the devices, stressing that pedestrian fatalities consistently outpace homicides in Montgomery.

Gov. Robert Ehrlich, however, vetoed the measure, saying it created a case of “trial by camera” in which alleged violators were unable to confront their accusers.